1 Cor.12:28 - the apostles
So I make no apologies, I am explaining some of what Gordon Fee brings to the Bible as a text, and I share many of his presuppositions. At the same time, he is very open to discussing this and has a great deal of humility in approaching exegesis. I am not trying to lay out new truths, I am skeptical of those who do that. I want to bring into the open some of the thinking behind a translation. Today, a little about apostles. Here is 1 Cor. 12: 27-31
- Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues [d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire [e] the greater gifts.
- Leadership roles were quite different from those of today. Apostles, prophets and teachers are given pride of place (NIV "first of all") in 1 Corinthians 12:28. But that is very likely primarily a temporal ordering, not structural, and there is no firm dividing line between them and the workers of miracles, those with gifts of healing and so on. Interestingly, those with gifts of guidance (TNIV) are not at the top. The point of the whole chapter, after all, is that each needs the other. Apostles unquestionably were acknowledged as the leading figures in the church; but no provision is made in the New Testament for the "succession". People designated as "pastors" (Eph. 4:11) functioned within congregations, not above them. The upshot is that we are given ministry designations, which have been carefully scrutinized (especially in Eph. 4:11) but no certain definitions. page 264
- no verbal connection in the New Testament between the word teacher and the vocabulary of authority. Hence the very term teaching authority, as though authority were invested in the teacher rather than in what is taught, is an anachronism when we are discussing teaching/teachers in the New Testament." page 265.